How much should pitch deck design cost?

The cost of a pitch deck is ultimately determined by what exactly you need. Apart from designing a pitch deck from a visual standpoint, crafting the story is a crucial part of creating the perfect investor presentation; you can hire professional service providers to handle either or both of these components. Besides content & design, pricing generally varies by the total number of slides, as well as any additional needs (ie. rush delivery, infographic or branding design).

How much does it cost to hire a professional pitch deck designer?

Typical prices for professional presentation design, even when hired online, begin at no less than $1,500 for a full presentation in the hands of an experienced pitch deck provider. That said, boutique service providers on the upper end can easily reach $5,000 or $10,000 — some have even paid up to $50K for this. If you’re looking for solely design updates, prices are usually lower — but this somewhat defeats the key benefit of hiring an external resource: to get an outsider’s take on your startup’s story.

Is $1,000 for a pitch deck worth it?

A good pitch deck will be 10–15 slides at least, and 20 slides at most. At that rate, you’d be paying ~$60–100 per slide for a $1,000 pitch deck.

When you compare that to the average hourly rate for a senior designer, ($65/hr) this seems quite sensible: one would hope you are spending at least 30 minutes per slide.

If the price was any lower, you’re probably paying for a junior designer (fresh out-of-college), who likely never pitched something before — you’d be better off designing the pitch deck yourself.

The average starting price for a full pitch deck from scratch is no less than $1,500 for an experienced professional. Some providers charge upwards of $5k and even $20k per deck; I have even head of Silicon Valley pitch deck agencies that take a percentage of the funds raised in addition to a 5-figure fee.

Cheap is not good

Hiring the cheapest consultant will likely hurt your chances more than it helps.

As wary as you should be of paying too much for a pitch deck (ie. I’ve seen rates upwards of $5k and even $20k per deck), you should also ensure that whoever you’re working with has the right experience to actually take you to the next level. $1,000 for an investor-ready pitch is probably a safe-bottom line for a credible service offering:

That said, working with an individual pitch deck expert rather than an agency can give you better results. Either way, you should always check for…

…before you make your decision.

So, is it worth the money?

At the end of the day, your pitch deck is the most important document in defining the destiny of your startup. If you’re pitching venture capital firms and accredited investors, you’ll spend the same if not more money on legal fees for due diligence even before the deal even closes — so why not spend some to ensure you get to that second stage?

A winning startup founder should know how-to best budget their funds for the maximal chance of success and ROI. The decision ultimately boils down to the specifics of your startup’s traction & funding goals, but as a rule of thumb: a professional pitch deck should cost at the very least $65 per slide (aka. ~$1,000 for 15 slides), if you’re working with the right people.

Who is the best pitch deck designer for your startup?

At the end of the day, there are only two answers to this question:

The best pitch deck designer for any startup is either

a) the founder, or

b) a third-party (ie. consultant, agency)

These differing approaches are founded upon two different schools of thought. I’ll attempt to explain each:

Option 1: When the founder is not the best pitch deck designer

As a founder, you are deeply embedded in the day-to-day and near-term goals and getting to the “birds-eye view” can be a mental challenge.

An investor (former Goldman Sachs partner) once told me: “if you imagine your startup as Disneyland, [the founder] is always too caught up in explaining the newest ride rather than the entire theme park.”

A third-party offers a low-context, outside view of your startup, which is why they are often better at summarizing what you’re doing. Founders often slip into the pitfalls of over-explaining their technology or feature set & neglecting the overall opportunity and ROI (what matters most to investors).

That said, you should be sure to hire a pitch deck expert, and not just any presentation designer. Pitch decks require a unique understanding & approach, and different types of decks (ie. M&A vs. Angel/Accelerator) vary greatly in style and design.

Hiring agencies vs. freelancers for your pitch deck

Often, working with an individual pitch deck exper t rather than an agency can be far more constructive:

The fact is, many of the most heavily advertised pitch deck agencies charge outsize fees while outsourcing the actual work for a fraction of the cost (ie. see the Upwork listing below by a popular pitch deck agency). In these cases, you are not getting what you paid for — rather than a dedicated pitch deck expert, your slides are being designed by an overseas junior designer with little-to-no fundraising experience:

Pitch deck agency Launch Module outsources for cheap on Upwork

The purpose of hiring an external resource to create your pitch deck is to get expert help from a seasoned veteran in the space — not just a generic designer to pretty up your slides. This is why working 1-on-1 with an individual pitch deck freelancer is generally the better option, as opposed to hiring a faceless agency. At the same time, the low-cost freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork or others likely won’t have the talent to stack up to what you need in order to excel at your pitch deck venture.

Why hire an outside professional for your pitch deck?

For most founders, the reason is two-fold:

  1. Pitching & fundraising expertise: Entrepreneurs seeking their first venture capital investment or angel investment are often intimidated by the learning curve. Having someone who specializes in this area of work can be immensely beneficial:Many pitch deck agencies & experts work with companies that raise millions of dollars every year — so it may be a good idea to hire one to increase your chances of funding & streamline the process. Often, great ideas don’t get funded simply because the pitch fails to adequately describe the opportunity in the language that investors understand.
  2. The birds-eye view: Founders are deeply involved in the day-to-day and near-term building processes. A former Goldman Sachs partner & angel investor once told me: “If you picture your startup as Disneyland, the founder always concentrates on explaining the new ride rather than the whole theme park.”Third-parties are often better at summarizing what you do since they have a low-context, outside perspective.

Option 2: When the founder is the best pitch deck designer

On the other hand, for many early-stage & bootstrapped founders, spending $1,000+ on a pitch deck can be too hefty a sum to afford. In these cases, cheaper options (ie. $x00 gigs on Upwork and Fiverr) can seem enticing, but you should consider deeper:

If you’re hiring a cheap, outsourced service or a faceless agency, you’re likely paying for a junior designer (fresh out-of-college) who has never pitched something themselves before — you’d be better off designing the pitch deck yourself. It’s only worth outsourcing your deck to experts with a track record of success: ie. marquee logos, testimonials, and portfolio examples.

Otherwise, you are the best designer for your own pitch deck!

Fortunately, there are a wealth of professional pitch deck templates online, so even if you lack a “designer’s eye,” you can still craft a compelling presentation. You can also follow along with our guide for what to include in your pitch deck, to ensure your investor presentation not only has eye-catching design, but also the right storytelling approach to resonate with investors.

Regardless of which option you choose, we wish you the very best of luck with your next pitch!

Originally published at https://vip.graphics on March 16, 2022.

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